Qigong: Taoist Yoga provides many benefits

By: Hannah Sanderman

The ancient Chinese practice of qigong, pronounced chi kung, integrates poses and breathing techniques that aim to declutter your mind of all other thoughts besides the movements you are executing. 

Qi translates into life force or vital-energy that flows through everything living thing in the universe. Gong translates to accomplishment or skill acquired through much practice. 

When you put the two words together, it sums up what qigong is all about; cultivating positive energy.

Also called taoist yoga, qigong has both physical and mental benefits.  

Improving the immune system, increasing stamina and vitality are only a few of the many benefits qigong offers.

The simple, rhythmic movements of qigong can also increase concentration, reduce stress and help clear the mind of any worries. 

The eight brocades practice is named after silk brocades suggesting that all of the movements and breathing should be smooth and seamless, just like a piece of silk. 

It is recommended to do each movement a total of six or eight times, which is about a 20-minute routine. 

However, for those who are in a rush and don’t have that kind of time, by doing each movement two times, they will be able to reap the many benefits of qigong.  

To watch a step by step video of how to do the eight brocades, and other qigong routines checkout Mimi Kuo-Deemer on YouTube. 

For more of a modern take on qigong, check out Lee Holden’s YouTube videos.

For a full tutorial by Hannah Sanderman, check out her video of these moves.

Start and end in standing meditation:  Put hands over your lower abdomen, for women put left over right and men put right over left.
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Before you begin: Finish each brocade move with a clearing. Bring your hands up to the level of your heart and palms float down in front of your body.
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Two hands support the heavens: inhale, lifting your hands, palms facing up, up above your head, and interlace your fingers once they reach your forehead with palms toward the sky. Exhale slowly bringing your arms down.
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Raising the hands to condition the stomach and spleen: Push left hand to the floor and right hand to the sky. Inhale and bring your arms to a T-position, then as you exhale switch hands so the left hand is pushing to the sky and the right is pushing to the floor.
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Drawing the bow and letting the arrow fly: Step feet wide apart with your arms together in front of your face. Exhale, bend your knees into a slight squat and push out your left hand in a L-shape and pull back your right hand away from your left. Inhale and straighten your legs, bringing arms back together, elbows touching. Exhale again bending into a slight squat but switch arms pushing out your right hand into an L and pulling back your left hand away from it.
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Looking back to eliminate five fatigues and seven illnesses: Start with your feet shoulder width apart. Turn your head to one side while at the same time opening your palms and arms to face forward. Inhale, bringing your head back to center with palms facing down. Now exhale turning your head to the other side and again open up your arms and palms.
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Bending over and wagging the tail to stop heart fire: Step your feet wide apart and bend your knees, placing your hands on your thighs. Exhale and bend your torso down towards your right leg and rotate your head and chest around to the left leg. Inhale, bring your body back to the middle, and then exhale again bending down to your left leg and swing your torso to the right leg.
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Two hands climb the legs to strengthen the kidneys: Feet shoulder width apart, inhale, placing your hands on your lower back. Exhale and trace fingers down the backs of your legs to your feet. Then inhale and trace fingers up the inner legs, and once your hands reach your torso, float your arms in front of you and bring them up over your head. Then bring your arms down, palms facing the floor.
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Punching with an angry gaze to increase strength: Feet shoulder width apart, exhale, pushing your right hand in a fist forward. Then draw that hand back, placing the fist, palm facing upward, on your hip with your elbow bent. Exhale again and push your left hand out, and then bring the fist back to rest on your hip palm facing up.
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Shake the back seven times to eliminate the 100 illnesses: Exhale and fold down, and then inhale and roll back up and go into a slight backbend. Exhale and come up from the backbend and lift your heels up and bring them back down, shaking the body.
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To watch a step by step video of how to do the eight brocades, and other qigong routines checkout Mimi Kuo-Deemer on YouTube. 

For more of a modern take on qigong, check out Lee Holden’s YouTube videos.


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